|F L I E S
is a tool for animating flying insects in Maya. The
workflow is very simple: You select a Fly object and the
Box object inside which your flies will fly. F L I E S
then generates unique random flight paths and assigns
them to each fly. You then playback the animation and
tweak the flight parameters until you are satisfied.
The most recent version
of F L I E S is at:
I intend requesting Lumis and other Maya related
sites to make it available on their sites too. If you wish to redistribute
F L I E S, please do so only in the form (as flies.zip or other archival
format) I am providing at the above location. Please do not redistribute
the MEL script alone, the target user looses the documentation and a chance
- Extract flies.zip in
a directory like $home/flies/
- Put the MEL script flies.mel
- Type flies on the command line
- Refer this user guide ($home/flies/index.htm)
This section is designed
to help you start using F L I E S as soon as possible.
Here we go:
- Create a Cone -- I
assume its named nurbsCone1
- Scale nurbsCone1
uniformly in XYZ by 0.5
- Create another Cone
-- I assume its named nurbsCone2
- Scale nurbsCone2
uniformly in XYZ by 5.0
- Launch F L I E S
(type flies on the command line)
- Select nurbsCone1
- Click on Get
- Select nurbsCone2
- Click on Get
- From the
Perspective View, choose Show -> Curves to
turn curves off
- Hit the Play button
on the Time Slider
- flies (nurbsCone1
instances) must be flying within the box
The following are the various controls in F L I E S:
The Fly object is your fly. F L I E S will instance this
object to generate the required number of flies. To input
the Fly object, select an object and click this button.
You can change your Fly object anytime. This is
particularly helpful if your Fly model is heavy. I
normally use a Cone or a Locator for the Fly and when I
like the animation, I replace it with the real Fly model.
The flies fly inside a Box object. To input the Box,
select an object and click this button.
Like the Fly, you can change the Box anytime and still
have your flies flying inside the new box.
For convenience sake. Select the Fly and the Box objects
in order and hit this button to bring them into F L I E S
parameters affect all flies in all layers:
Starting frame of the
Total frames in the
Head Tail Axis:
The axis along which the head and the tail
of the fly lies. Since F L I E S does path animation, this axis becomes
the follow axis.
The axis that ensures the fly flies the
right side up. Experiment to find which one works for your flies!
There are five layers and you can launch a maximum of ten
flies per layer. The flies in a particular layer all
share a set of flight parameters (discussed below).
Layering flies is very useful for bringing character into
the animation -- some fly fast, some fly slow, some
jitter a lot while some glide smoothly.
Drag the slider or enter the layer number to change the
layer. The flies in the current layer are hilited. This
helps you quickly focus on the flies that will be
affected when you change the flight parameters.
Number Of Flies:
Number of flies launched in this layer.
FLIGHT PARAMETERS [LOCAL]:
The flight number is responsible for the flight routes of
your flies. Change the flight number and you change their
routes. Also, the flight number is your ticket to fly
them again through a previous route.
A fly flies between randomly generated Start and End
points inside the box. A round trip is the journey : Start
-> End -> Start.
More round trips means the flies have to fly faster to
cover the extra distance in the same time.
How turbulent the flight is? 0.0 is least turbulent. 1.0
is most. The default turbulence of 0.5 works well for
houseflies while a turbulence of 0.75 seems suitable for
those buzzing around street lights.
Level of twists and turns in the flight.
Click this button to quit F L I E S leaving all the
generated flies intact.
Click this button to abandon F L I E S killing all the
This is my first MEL program. Therefore, you can fool it
in a thousand different ways! The following are the
things to avoid when F L I E S is running:
- Dont delete the Fly
or the Box once they have been input into F L I E
- Dont delete any of
the generated flies
- Dont select a
generated fly as your Fly object
- Dont hide the Fly
or the Box
- When you hit Get
Both, make sure you have at least two objects in
the selection list
- If you find more, dont do them and contact
If you do any of the
above, error messages swarm at you. The program wont
crash though. Follow the rules and your flies will be
flying again. Its best anyway to restart the program.
I am a freelance CG
Software Developer based in Madras, India. I am committed
to developing software that helps artists/animators
create CGI for movies or television. I am always on the
look out for a fulltime programming position and thus
would love to be a fulltime CG Software Developer at your
studio. If you like the idea, here is my contact
F14, HIG Flats,
Anna Main Road,
Chennai - 600 078
Phone : +91-44-4890321
e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
I worked fulltime as a Production Software Engineer at EFX from August
1997 to September 1998. To check out my current and past projects, please
visit my web site:
You can find my online resume at: